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In the pursuit of widening my comfort zone and developing new skills, I decided this year would be a good time to finally join the Merrill Pottery Co-Op located within Merrill Building A Residential Housing. I’ve been wanting to join the Co-Op since my first year here at UCSC, however, I didn’t know how! Luckily, one of my friends was able to find out when the orientation was as well as where we could attend it. 

People who attended the half an hour orientation were sent a quiz via email days after. The first 130 people who got 100% on the quiz were the first ones to get in. Everybody else unfortunately had to go on a waiting list. Without advertising and only by word of mouth, somehow 250 people completed the quiz in under 10 minutes! I’m still so surprised that I was able to get in alongside my friends. It’s been such a blessing to be able to spend time learning how to make clay with easy accessibility. Paying only $200 for the whole year, members of the Co-Op are able to gain 24/7 access to the mud and glaze room, with full access to clay, tools, and other pottery machinery. 

With one of the rules of the Co-Op being “Don’t Be an Asshole,” I’m happy to say that all of the people I’ve been able to meet have followed this rule, creating a non-judgmental culture. The people within the Co-Op range from being totally inexperienced having never touched clay before (like me), to being in a ceramics class during high school, to having years and years of experience. What’s nice is that everybody is willing to learn and teach one another. With patience and understanding from others, I’m proud to have learned immensely from the Co-Op in such a small amount of time. 

So far, I’ve been able to learn how to mold clay using the wheel. The potter’s wheel includes a table top where you can place your clay, a basin surrounding it to collect the clay which falls, and a foot pad to control the speed of the table top. Using the wheel, I’ve been able to learn how to center and raise the walls of the clay which allows me to make mugs, bowls, and even planters for my plants! Of course, this isn’t without many mistakes and having to go through clay after clay to finally get it right. Yes, I’ve definitely gotten frustrated and annoyed with myself, but pottery has taught me how to be kinder to myself by teaching me to have sympathy and patience for myself. 

I have a habit of wanting to do something perfectly the first time I do it, however, pottery is one hobby which requires care, patience, and time to learn this art form. For an impatient person like myself, this is a life lesson I’ve been desperately needing to learn. I’m glad that I’m finally able to be given the opportunity to do so! 

Whether it’s pottery or another hobby, we should all strive to challenge ourselves and do things which furthers our growth. 

Email merrillpottery@gmail.com to learn more about when the next orientation will be during Winter Quarter! You can also follow the Merrill Co-Op instagram: @merrillpotterycoop to look at all the beautiful work people have done so far. 

Hello! My name is Theresa Bostic but I also go by DJ Terbear for my radio show, "The Shuffle" which plays on Sundays from 2-4pm on KZSC, UCSC's campus radio station. As an undergradute at UCSC, I'm double majoring in History and Sociology with a minor in Black Studies. I love making new friends, baking, hiking, and watching video essays on YouTube.
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